Published March 17, 2005
MADRID, Spain – An Iraqi-born Spanish businessman kidnapped in Baghdad (search) several weeks ago has been freed after a ransom was paid, Spain's leading daily reported Thursday.
El Pais reported that the kidnapped man, identified only by his initials, U.A.H., was freed Tuesday, El Pais said, citing unidentified government sources. The paper said the sources refused to give details of the ransom paid so as not to put people involved in the operation at risk.
The man was said to have Spanish nationality and passport since 2000 and for the past 30 years has lived in Spain (search), where he runs a translation firm and a real estate company, the daily said. He was kidnapped during a visit to Iraq (search) to see his family.
El Pais said the government helped the man's family negotiate his release and return to Spain late Tuesday.
Dozens of people have been kidnapped in Iraq over the past year. Some 30 are believed to have been killed.